April 6, 2020

Good evening MNLGA Members:

This e-mail is distributed to key contacts; please feel free to share with others in your office. A few new things for you this evening:

Its been a little quieter in the office today. Generally, when the office is quieter, our members are busy. I hope that is the case, relative to what is going on in the world.

I know from communicating with many of you, that applications for the CARES Act – PPP, Paycheck Protection Plan were live today at many banks. If you have questions about this act, please let me know and I will try to help; if you are interested in making application to PPP it is recommended you go to the bank with which you already work. Applications should be found on the bank’s website.

AmericanHort is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, “Communication Through Crisis,” from 2:30 – 3:30.  Link to register . No fee. I’ll supply the link to the recorded webinar, when available.

The NLAEs (my peer group from across North America) hosted a webinar today, “Choose to Grow Forward,” including well-known industry/business leaders Jim Paluch, Jeffrey Scott, Mark Bradley, and Phil Harwood. The panelists spoke on choosing how to move forward during this uncertain time – from both tangible and psychological perspectives. If you were not able to view the live session, the link to the recording is here . The recording is just shy of an hour.

MDA launched a new marketing campaign today: “Buy Local During Stay at Home Order” – New Resources Connect Consumers with Farmers, Producers, and Restaurants. This program, part of “Maryland’s Best,” features an interactive map to help consumers find sources of fresh food and other agricultural products. “Each business has included information on product availability, how to order, and options for pick-up and/or delivery. Producers who would like to be added to the map should contact Karen Fedor at  karen.fedor@maryland.gov . “ Read the full press release here .

By the end of the week, my NLAEs hope to have a map of the US and Canada by state and province where one can click on the state/province and access the official “essential/non-essential” orders for industry segments. I will share this info when it is ready.  As of right now, the scope of Maryland Green Industry businesses remains essential, however all are cautioned to engage in strict COVID-19 precautions, work to eliminate foot traffic and curbside pick-up. Delivery is the preferred method of moving product. Businesses are also asked to make honest assessments of activities in which they are engaged and focus on those that serve the public’s health and safety.

DHS reports that H2B cap relief is delayed due to COVID-19; the cap, for now, will stand. Processing for visas in Monterrey for H2A and H2B visas continues for only those applicants that qualify for an interview waiver. Special consideration was granted on April 1 for returning workers, if they’ve had a visa within the last 48 months, to qualify for the interview waiver. 

Remember to utilize the COVID-19 resources page on the MNLGA website . It includes resources to help connect with consumers, explanations and access to state and federal recovery, employment, and relief efforts, and more.

This is the shortest report I’ve issued in two weeks.  I guess that is good on some level.  You all take care – stay safe and look out for one another. We are all in this together.

Please keep me informed of what is going on with your business. If I know what is going on, I may be a better resource to you and to other members as we navigate together this uncharted territory. Feel free to email me at Vanessa @mnlga.org .

Vanessa A. Finney
Executive Director, MNLGA

Also, I'm reiterating that last week the MNLGA board paused all membership dues until April 1 of next year. As well, non-members are invited to join with a complimentary membership through the end of 2020. The purpose of this is to enable us to get information out to as many businesses as possible, as efficiently as possible. Pass the word to your non-member colleagues. Prospective members go to www.mnlga.org , click the "join here" button and select membership type 2020-Comp. Easy to do!

Blood banks across the area are in need. If you are able to give blood, please consider visiting the Red Cross. I think it would be wise to make an appointment rather than arrive unexpectedly.  Visit Greater Chesapeake Region Red Cross to find a donation center near you.